Continental Divide (1981)

Continental Divide (1981)

“Reporters are parasites who eat off the accomplishments of other people.”

A tough, Chicago-based reporter (John Belushi) is sent by his managing editor (Allen Garfield) to cover a story about a scientist (Blair Brown) living an isolated existence in the Rockies. While Blair is resistant at first to Belushi’s presence, soon the pair start to fall for one another — but their incompatible lifestyles remain an obstacle to their romantic success.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Allen Garfield Films
  • John Belushi Films
  • Journalists
  • Michael Apted Films
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Scientists

This quirky romantic comedy (directed by Michael Apted) remains a beloved favorite of Belushi fans, who view it as evidence of the broader acting talents he could have demonstrated had he lived longer (he died the following year). The semi-comedic storyline feels undeniably contrived at times, particularly during scenes set in Chicago, where Belushi’s intrepid mob-busting reporter is depicted as a man of deep principles who’s known and beloved by seemingly all the city’s denizens (hardly likely); and when he first arrives in the Rockies, we understand Blair’s frustration with his intrusive, often abrasive presence. But eventually we come to root for both Belushi and Blair (an appealingly feisty, smart, independent heroine), thanks in part to Lawrence Kasdan’s script, which allows Blair’s affection for Belushi to blossom naturally, culminating in an exciting scene wherein she’s given a chance to save his life. Meanwhile, fine use is made of gorgeous location shooting high in the mountains of Colorado. While it’s not must-see viewing, film fanatics in the mood for something light and frothy might want to check this one out.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Blair Brown as Nell Porter
  • John Belushi as Ernie Souchak
  • Beautiful on-location footage

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a one-time look. Listed as a Sleeper and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.


One thought on “Continental Divide (1981)

  1. First viewing. Not a must.

    Just my opinion, but I was bored about 10 minutes in. Not that it’s a horrible movie – and I did like the nature scenes – but it’s little more than a date movie, really. Nothing all that memorable.

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